Support Services for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs)
ACNS’s lounge area, the Terry Martin Memorial space, is open every day from 10am to 4pm. PHAs can come and relax, read, use the internet or phone, play cards or just be.
Do you need to talk or feel you need more information? Do you need help getting the services you are entitled to in your community? Would you like to connect with others who understand? We have many ways we can help you.
ACNS provides one-on-one, short term, supportive counseling for those experiencing challenges in their lives, including, but not limited to, new diagnosis, disclosure, illness, grief and loss, difficulty managing life situations and relationships. We can help you access long term counseling as well. Friends, family, loved ones, and caregivers of those living with HIV can also access supportive sessions at ACNS. They can be in person or even over the phone.
Advocating on your behalf
ACNS advocates with and on behalf of PHAs to assist with better access to healthcare and community resources.Some of our past advocacy for PHAs has been: social assistance, special diet funding, Canada Pension Plan, medication coverage, home care, basic needs and housing. We can also refer people to organizations that may specialize in a specific area of advocacy, such as legal matters or homelessness.
Referrals & Systems Navigation
ACNS provides referrals to PHAs to access a number of community supports, such as legal aid to assist with the completion of a living will, power of attorney or other legal matters, psychological and mental health services, addictions services, specialized food bank and housing organizations to name a few. We can also help you to figure out how to get the healthcare you need, the steps you need to take and what you can expect. Give us a call if you need some help, we may know where you can find what you are looking for.
ACNS approaches HIV treatment from a holistic, harm reduction perspective and keeps an up-to-date information library on HIV,including available medications, adherence strategies, alternative treatments, inflammation, diet and nutrition, medication interactions and mental health. We can provide you with one-on-one treatment information sessions, access to the Internet and printed resources, and treatment information workshops. Please contact us to find out about upcoming workshops being offered.We would also love to hear your ideas for topics to offer as future information sessions.
Poz Gay Men’s Group
This is a monthly social support group for men who identify as gay, bisexual or Trans-identified men and are living with HIV. It is an opportunity to come together to have discussions, support each other and share experiences. This is a peer-lead group guided by group-identified boundaries with support of our Support Services Coordinator. Snacks are provided. To join this group please contact the Support Services Coordinator.
Poz Women’s Events
Each year we plan a positive women’s event (possibly more than one, depending on interest) where there is a social gathering, discussion and snacks.These events are planned in consultation with poz women who have attended past events with us. We welcome feedback and ideas.
Complementary & Alternative Therapy Programs
ACNS has a volunteer practitioner who offers massage to people living with HIV. For more information, or to request an appointment, please contact the Support Services Coordinator.From time to time we have offered other alternative therapy programs such as Reiki, Acupuncture and information sessions. Please let us know if there are specific programs that are of interest to you as we could look into it or provide referral to and another organization through partnership.
Making Ends Meet
ACNS offers hygiene products free-of-charge to those living with HIV who are in need because of low income. All the products are new but availability depends on donations. This program can be accessed on a monthly basis at our office. We welcome any information from clients about the products we could offer and request from donors in the future. Some of the typical products we offer are: toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, lotion, shavers, shaving cream, deodorant, etc.
Workshops, Conference, Retreats
ACNS offers a variety of workshops on a range of topics throughout the year, in partnership with local and national organizations. Each year we host the NS Knowledge Exchange & Health Promotion Forum, which is open to PHAs across Nova Scotia. This is a three-day event that offers workshops, networking opportunities and social activities. One of ACNS' newest initiatives is a PHA retreat, to be held periodically. We would love to hear more from you about the topics that are of interest for workshop sessions and future retreats.
HIV/AIDS Community Vigil Ceremony
Each year, ACNS leads a group of community partners together to offer a HIV/AIDS Vigil Ceremony on the evening of December 1, World AIDS Day, in memory of those we lost and in celebration of the lives of those here today. The ceremony involves a reading of the names of those lost since 1983 to today, lighting of the candle, music and sharing. If you wanted to get involved in planning this event with us, please let us know.